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Argumentative Claims vs. Expository Thesis Statements

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by

Katie Orf

on 6 January 2016

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Transcript of Argumentative Claims vs. Expository Thesis Statements

Argumentative CLAIMS
vs.
Expository THESIS STATEMENTS

The way you present your
OPINIONS
in your writing often determines the type of writing.
BIG PICTURE
Let's start with an
OPINION
:
Both
Argumentative
and
Expository
Writing relay information to the reader, but they differ in the way they deliver this information and apply the writer's
opinions
.
Expository
In an expository essay, you, the author, have limited space to include your opinions or beliefs on the page. You’re focusing more on factual statements rather than on debatable claims.
You usually focus your discussion on what things are, the way a character changes, what something includes, or how something works
...nothing debatable.
Argumentative
An argument derives from two or more parties having different opinions on an issue.
In an argumentative essay, what really matters is your opinion. Your opinion is the basis of your
claim
. Your argument comes from how well you can support a
claim
on a topic that has two reasonable, debatable sides.
Argumentative CLAIMS
A
claim
is the main argument of an essay that defines your essay's goals and direction.

A
claim
is
NOT
a factual statement. It
must
be debatable.

A
claim
is a statement supported by concrete evidence, expert opinion, analysis, and personal insight.
From the Standards:
"In English language arts, students make
claims
about the worth or meaning of a literary work or works. They defend their interpretations or judgments with evidence from the text(s) they are writing about...
Although young children are not able to produce fully developed logical arguments, they develop a
variety of methods to extend and elaborate their work by providing examples, offering reasons for their assertions,
and explaining cause and effect. In grades K–5, the term “
opinion
” is used to refer to this developing form of argument."

-From Appendix A of the
Common Core State Standards
Expository Thesis Statements:
Your expository essay should NOT be a pure narrative (a story), NOR a pure argument, but it should be based on a fixed focal point, a
thesis
.
Your thesis statement will express your
Point of View
.
A
thesis statement
is a conversation starter backed up by evidence, examples, and/or anecdotes to explain an idea or a memorable time, place, or event.
Your thesis is
NOT debatable
. No one can argue with your thesis. As such, it is not an argumentative essay.

From the Standards:
"Informational/explanatory writing conveys information accurately...
To produce this kind of writing, students combine
what they already

know

to

information from primary and secondary sources.
With practice, students become better able to develop a controlling idea and a coherent focus on a topic and more skilled at selecting and incorporating relevant examples, facts, and details into their writing."

-From Appendix A of the
Common Core State Standards
Hip hop lyrics contain a lot of violence.
Right now, this statement is neither a

Thesis

nor a

Claim
because it is only an opinion.

Anyone can express an opinion. You can say that you prefer chocolate to vanilla ice cream, to which another can either agree or disagree. This kind of exchange, however, neither leads to further conversation about nor investigation of an issue.

Instead,
Expose your understanding of a topic and clarify that new information is going to be presented. You must provide your point of view to lead your essay.


Hip hop lyrics contain a lot of violence.
This is NOT an
Expository Thesis Statement
because it really has no point to lead the rest of your essay.
Your readers might think, “Yep, there are violent lyrics in some hip hop songs. So what? What’s your point? Why am I reading this?”

Instead,
Try taking your opinion and making it into something that someone could disagree. Ask yourself:
Is it positive or is it negative?
Is it right or is it wrong?
Is it harmful or is it harmless?
Should something be done or not?
What solutions could you offer?

Hip hop lyrics contain a lot of violence.
This is NOT an
Argumentative Claim
because it is not debatable.
You, as a listener, can go through different types of hip hop songs and find many that contain violent references and lyrics, so the claim that there are songs with violent content makes this a factual statement, nothing debatable.

Claim - Harmful
Since many hip hop lyrics contain a lot of violence, listening to this sort of music can be damaging to young listeners.
Even though many hip hop lyrics contain a lot of violence, it isn’t a glorification of violence, but it is an artist’s expression of actual occurrences, and, as such, it is the best way to end the violence in certain American cities by exposing it to a vast audience.
Claim - Harmless
The violence in the song "Insane" by Eminem reflects the theme of violence in other hip hop songs of that era because of its offensive language and other abusive notions.
Two examples:
For example:
Expository Thesis Statement
See if you can tell which of these are Argumentative CLAIMS or Expository Thesis Statements and why.
Example A:
"The lack of privacy online is harmful to kids because it prevents them from being true to themselves as individuals. "
Example B:
"The life of the typical college student is characterized by time spent studying, attending class, and socializing with peers."
Example C:
"December 21, 2012 is the day a calendar used by an ancient civilization known as the Maya ends - and along with it, some believed the world."

Example D:
"High schools should include the fine arts in their curriculum to stimulate students’ cognitive development, allow them an outlet for creative expression, and improve their appreciation of artistic creations of various types."
Example E:
"Sports are really important to billions of people, but we, as a society, are taking them a little too seriously."
Source: http://owl.english.purdue.edu

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Thesis-Statement-(High-School-Students)
Answers
A - claim - "harmful"

B - exp. thesis - explains an idea

C - exp. thesis - factual

D - claim - "should"

E - claim - debatable
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